Wednesday, February 09, 2005

gadgets for clothes

This came up last week in a lunchtime conversation, and was revisited when I was chatting with a friend yesterday: Why aren't there any cool gadgets designed to deal with clothes (and shoes)? My answer: not enough women engineers.

Let me start by saying that I don't think women are intrinsically more interested in clothes. Unfortunately, it seems that in our culture, it is much more acceptable for men to wear the same types of clothes every day, or even the same outfits, than it is for women. I'm reminded of this every time I get invited to yet another wedding, and I have to figure out what to wear, while I watch the guys drag out the same old suits.

But, back to my point. If there were more women engineers, I bet we would have cool closets that would optimize space but easily switch between winter and summer wardrobes. There would be an attached computer which would have a catalogue of all the clothes in the closet; once an article of clothing was selected, it would take only the push of a button to retrieve it. Shoes would be automatically machine-sorted into bins based on color and style, and be kept out of the way.

In fact, the ultimate clothes gadget would be a laundry machine, which would automatically take dirty clothes and determine whether to dry clean, "hand" wash, or machine wash, perform the appropriate action, and then fold or hang the result. Have I mentioned how much I hate laundry? I would pay a fortune for a machine like that.

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